Disability History and Awareness Weeks
Dr. Joseph G Joyner
St Johns County School District Superintendent
In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed a law designating the first two weeks in October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks. The purpose of this observance is to expand students’ knowledge, understanding and awareness of individuals with disabilities, the history of disability and the disability rights movement through instruction.
The goals of disability history and awareness instruction include better treatment of individuals with disabilities in society and increased attention to preventing the bullying or harassment of students with disabilities, encouragement to individuals with disabilities to develop higher self-esteem resulting in postsecondary education, jobs and community contributions and a commitment to full inclusion and equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities.
Florida started the first special education class in 1926 in Jacksonville. Since 1926, specially designed instruction and related services have expanded throughout Florida. Now, approximately 375,000 students, and over 4,000 students in St. Johns County, identified with disabilities are participating in Florida’s public education system and are graduating and going on to postsecondary education or employment.
Our students will benefit from learning about the story of people with disabilities, including how they used to be viewed and treated, how conditions have changed over time and how individuals with disabilities are currently actively involved in self-advocacy and in their communities. Given the context of disability history, students will be equipped with the tools needed to engage in critical thinking and will be more likely to view individuals with disabilities as people deserving of dignity and respect just like everyone else
The SJCSD is proud to participate in promoting awareness of disability history and the contributions of individuals with disabilities as well as to designate the first two weeks in October of every year as Disability History and Awareness Weeks.
On the Horizon:
School Board Meeting
The regular monthly School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 8 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the School District Administrative Building at 40 Orange Street. The agenda includes recognitions of the Betty Griffin House Art and Poetry Calendar contest winners, the 2014 National Merit Semifinalists and Five Star Schools. There will also be a request for approval of the advertisement of the Attendance Zone changes for 2014-2015.
State of the Schools Presentation
Dr. Joyner will be presenting the State of the Schools on Monday, October 14 from 6-7 p.m. in the School Board Auditorium in the School District Administrative Building located at 40 Orange Street. All interested parties are welcome to attend.
CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast
The annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Community Breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 17 at First Coast Technical College. This event honors one eighth-grade student from each middle school who has displayed all of the Pillars of Character. Sponsors of the American Youth Character Awards and school business partners are recognized and two special recognition awards will also be presented. The Community Service Award is given to a business partner in the community that has shown support through sponsorship and/or other areas for the CHARACTER COUNTS! program. The Marjorie Davidson Individual Service Award is given to a person that has given time and effort in promoting the CHARACTER COUNTS! program. Tickets to the breakfast are $15 each. Checks should be made payable to the St. Johns Education Foundation and sent with reservations to Sonja Willets, 40 Orange Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. The deadline for reservations is Wednesday, October 9.